The Study Hotel at University City,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Overview: The Study Hotel is a 145,000 SF hotel featuring 212 rooms, banquet and meeting spaces, a 105-seat capacity restaurant and bar, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. GeoStructures performed a geotechnical investigation, environmental testing, and inspection and materials testing for the hotel construction.

Early on in the geotechnical investigation, GeoStructures recognized the feasibility of strip and spread footings in the basement, as attributed to two factors: (1) the presence of weathered rock within 5 ft of the basement floor, and (2) favorable triaxial testing results on Stratum 3 soils directly above the weathered rock. In our analysis, we attended closely to the issues of settlement and constructability of shallow foundations in close proximity to the water table by optimizing footing depth and bearing capacity. We recommended that the Level 1 area of the building have the columns and walls supported by a system of drilled shafts or caissons and grade beams. Thus, the structural loads below the weak fill and alluvial silt and clay deposits would be transferred to the underlying rock. Additionally, this use of caissons will avoid surcharging a nearby subway tunnel along the north side.

During the construction, GeoStructures provided inspection and materials testing services for caissons (drilling inspection), footings (foundation bearing inspection), cast-in-place concrete (rebar and concrete testing), and earthwork (backfill and compaction testing).

As part of the Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), geotechnical test borings confirmed the presence of some buried masonry demolition debris mixed with soil. No buried storage tanks were found during the geophysical survey. Moreover, Phase II chemical testing of soil and groundwater samples for analyses related to the historical activities showed levels below both the Cleanup and Clean Fill Limits set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). Based on the test results and the due diligence process of the Phase I ESA, the material excavated from the site was managed as clean fill under the PA Clean Fill Policy.

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